Background: Several attempts have been made to evaluate patients' concerns with respect to postoperative recovery. To identify aspects of postoperative recovery relevant to patients, several methodological and statistical approaches have been used. One of the first to provide useful information was Fredrick Orkin who used conjoint analysis. This methodology is usually performed by market researchers to learn about the relative importance of product attributes. We used conjoint analysis in the present study.
Methods: A total of 220 patients undergoing preoperative anaesthetic examination before impending surgery under general anaesthesia were asked to rate nine scenarios during immediate postoperative recovery based on four factors (alertness, pain, postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV), and extra costs) each with three levels. Using conjoint analysis the relative impact of each factor on ranking the scenarios was assessed.
Results: The relative importance of the four factors (as a percentage of the preference decision) was PONV (49%), pain (27%), alertness (13%), and additional costs (11%).
Conclusion: Avoidance of PONV is a major concern for patients before surgery.